In October, as part of our ongoing “Distinguished Lecture Series,” May Institute was honored to host Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D., who presented the workshop “Bridges to Adulthood: Programming for Quality of Life.” Dr. Gerhardt is the President and Chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research.
Dr. Gerhardt gave an engaging and often humorous talk about the challenges of helping individuals on the autism spectrum move from youth to adulthood. He provided an overview of the problems that can arise during this time and offered practical suggestions for helping young adults on the more verbal end of the spectrum learn how to interact with others in a dignified and appropriate manner at home and in the community. Dr. Gerhardt also stressed the impact that choice, control, competence have on an individual’s quality of life.
The event drew almost 100 May Institute staff and visiting professionals who filled our Distance Learning Center to capacity. After his presentation, Dr. Gerhardt was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation. Staff and visitors had the opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Gerhardt at a social hour after the lecture.
Dr. Gerhardt has more than 25 years of experience utilizing the principles of applied behavior analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in educational, employment, and community-based settings. He is the author or co-author of articles and book chapters on the needs of adults with ASD, the school-to-work-transition process, assessment of social competence, and analysis and intervention of problematic behavior. He has presented nationally and internationally on these topics. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. In 2007, he was awarded the John W. Jacobson Award for Significant Contributions to Effective Behavior Intervention by the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis.